The Chippewa Valley Post provides news of area nonprofit organizations in order to increase public awareness of their missions and activities, and to provide information that otherwise might not be made available.
Our “6 of Substance” series is part of this effort. It presents answers from area nonprofit organizations, in their own words, to six questions about who they are and what they do. The responses are edited only for length, grammar and style concerns.
This series will be updated regularly to introduce Chippewa Valley residents to the many nonprofit organizations and people working to serve the needs of our area. If you have a favorite nonprofit organization that you’d like to see featured here, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Spirit Radio
Who do you serve?
The beginning of our mission statement borrows from the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world: “Northern Spirit Radio promotes world healing….” Our audience is people who desire world healing, who want to know of the people, the movements and the ideas that go beyond the status quo or the dry and stale news that is such a part of what we typically encounter in the news media, or even podcasts. Ours are a people who are actively curious and energized by ideas and ways that can bring world healing.
Our mission statement continues, “…by broadcasting inspirational and educational voices of peace and social justice….” Our audience wants to hear stories that inspire and educate and offer them hope for what is possible. Our mission concludes, “…using the language of personal story, music, and spirituality.” Our audience enjoys the stories of others, and wants to hear those stories in long form so that they can be explored in-depth. They are not afraid of an interviewer who asks questions that can’t be answered in sound-bites, or one who allows time to answer questions in multiple paragraphs. And because spirituality, however any individual might define it, is important to many of us, our listeners are also people who are deeply curious about our interviewees’ motivation, which is so often a spiritual yearning, quest or passion.
How long have you been established in the Chippewa Valley?
Northern Spirit Radio began in 2004 at the request of WHYS here in Eau Claire, as the producer of two radio shows: “Spirit in Action,” about people who are doing social justice work or who study it, and “Song of the Soul,” a show that alternates between people who are moved by music, and the musicians and their music. The shows soon became available on the web and on other radio stations, and then via podcasts. In 2013, we formed a Board of Directors to work on incorporation and other issues, and we incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2014. We continue to be broadcast on WHYS and now appear on 33 stations in 15 states, along with our podcast subscribers and the web audience.
What are the major issues you will be facing over the next 18 months?
Since we are a radio show about world healing, our programs explore an extraordinary list of issues, from racism to organic farming, from Islam to the music that moves us, from anti-war movements to economics. This question, though, is about issues that will be facing the organization itself. Finances are always one of those. We are supported by our listeners and a few institutional donations, and work on a shoe-string budget. We are seeking more grants and more effective ways to engage our listeners to become member-supporters. Our staff members earn a paycheck, but deserve a more generous and livable pay package for the amount and type of work they do. We are also looking to enlarge our Board of Directors to be more diverse in skill sets, talents and backgrounds.
Aside from financial support, how can the Chippewa Valley community support you?
Listen to our show, follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter and share/retweet our episodes with friends when we post new ones. Also, let us know of any grants we might apply for, put us in touch with additional radio stations which might be able to broadcast our shows, and attend our community events.
Who are some of the key people in your organization?
The key person is Mark Helpsmeet, the founder of Northern Spirit Radio and chief creator and producer of our programs. NSR is his brainchild. His is the voice that you will hear on almost every episode produced in our 12 years. Andrew Janssen and Katharine Thomas do a lot of work editing the episodes and cleaning up the sound of interviews after they’ve been recorded. Andrew also ensures that they make it our website, get queued in the podcast, and are posted on Facebook. Our Board of Directors (listed on our website) also put in time, talent, and creative energy to help keep things running, so a special shout out to them.
What is the most important thing about your organization that people should know, but don’t?
NSR – specifically the shows we produce – are labors of love born out of our dedication to healing the world. The Board repeats our mission statement together at the beginning of our meetings to keep us focused on the importance of what we are doing. We spend time checking in with each other about our personal lives so we are a group that knows and cares for one another as much as we do the content we produce, which makes us more than just an “official” board. Our staff does not make a living from this work and, because we don’t have advertising or corporate sponsors, our content is truly material that energizes and uplifts. Our shows could not be done if the people doing them were not passionate about providing a calm, sensible, healing alternative message and method of delivery.
— by Pastor David Huber, chair, NSR Board of Directors
If you would like more information about Northern Spirit Radio, click here.
To see earlier “6 of Substance” listings, click here for the Archives.
To download a copy of the “6 of Substance” questionnaire, click here.
Note: Andrew Janssen is also a web technician for the Chippewa Valley Post.